The 5 Exes You Should Unfriend On Facebook For Sanity’s Sake

September 2, 2015  |  

So you had a breakup and you’re about to hit the “unfriend” button on Facebook. Then, you think, maybe I’m being too rash. I’m here to tell you that you’re not. There is no good reason to be friends with your ex on Facebook, or in real life. However, there are 5 kinds of exes in particular that you should delete from all social platforms — along with their phone numbers.

  1. The One Who Was Never Really Your Friend – Sometimes we start dating someone so quickly that we never get to know them as friends. I had one of these, though he was more of a sex buddy than a boyfriend exactly. Sure, we used to have drinks and dinner beforehand and sometimes watch a movie, but our meetings weren’t like dates, they were more like appointments than anything else. Once I’d gone to the psych hospital and decided to become abstinent, I had no reason to see him. We really had next to nothing in common, and I realized that I’d been feigning interest in his conversation until we got to the sex, which was marginal at best. Unfriend? Yes!
  2. The One Who Broke Up With You Badly – Everyone has had a bad breakup. I don’t mean that you didn’t want to break up with the person. I mean that the person handled the breakup badly. Maybe you initiated the split and they hung on, refusing to stop calling you. My bad breaker-upper was a man I went out with for over a year who broke up with me via email. Email! His note went to some length to explain that he didn’t think that we were a “marriage match.” I wrote back that I couldn’t see myself spending any more time with someone who’d break up via electronic means. He clearly proved that he couldn’t deal with emotions, or with making adult decisions, without putting a buffer up. Truth is, I was going to break up with him but I was waiting for the chance to do it in person like a grown-up. When Facebook asks if he’s someone I might know, I scroll past him. Quickly.
  3. The One Who Did You Dirty – Sometimes we think that we should forgive and forget, and that’s a good policy. Some of us think that the “forget” means “forget the terrible thing that someone has done to you.”  I think it means “forget them!” I can say this because I had an ex that cheated on me, and I decided to stay friends with him because we were friends beforehand. The problem was that in the course of our “friendship,” he revealed that there was more cheating than I’d originally thought, for longer than I’d originally thought. I could have done well without learning that information, since it sent me into a depression about why I didn’t notice that he was two-timing me, about why I can’t have a good relationship, about how I’ll never find someone who really loves me. Not good. See, if I hadn’t offered the olive branch by friending this man on Facebook, I never would’ve known what a jackass he was and I would’ve maintained some semblance of self-esteem.
  4. The One That Got Away – Maybe you had a decent breakup, talk occasionally and think that you’re friends with your ex. Maybe you think that ex will be a former ex if you play your cards right. Then you see his new profile picture on Facebook where he’s hugged up with some woman and his relationship status has changed to “In a Relationship.” You think, well he never did that with me! That’s why you don’t need to be friends, on Facebook or anywhere else, with someone you haven’t quite gotten over yet. It will do you no good to see the vacation pictures, restaurant check-ins and tagged status updates that your old dude has with his new boo. When I see that kind of thing, I want to cry, vomit and throw my laptop all at the same time. That’s why I’ve unfriended the dude who could have been my Mr. If he wants to come crawling back, he has my number even though I’ve deleted his from my phone.
  5. The One Who is Doing Better Than You – So, I had a boyfriend who I thought was the love of my life. He broke up with me twice and I still came back for more. So did he. The last time was the hardest, since I was going through a depressive episode at the time and the breakup made everything worse. True to form, I unfriended him on Facebook and deleted his number from my phone. A few years later I was over my breakup grief, I’d worked through some relationship issues with my therapist, and I’d started some medications that really seemed to work. Then I found out that my ex had gotten married. I’d forgotten about all of our mutual friends who might be invited to something like a wedding. There they all were, my ex, his wife and our friends, looking very festive on someone’s Facebook wall. I hadn’t accounted for that, and I got upset and jealous. I wasn’t jealous of the new wife; I was jealous of my ex for having moved on and started a significant portion of his life with a new partner. I wanted that for myself, but I was still in a holding pattern. The bad news was that I had a good cry. The good news was that I was finally over the ex and wanting to be with him

Sometimes we turn off things that we don’t want to see, like Facebook feeds, and they protect us from feeling unnecessary hurt. Since I live every day with the pain of depression, I’m all for making things easier. But sometimes we turn off things and they keep us from growing and learning about ourselves. I don’t recommend that. But I do still recommend cutting off the exes on social media.

Tracey Lloyd lives in Harlem, where she fights her cat for access to the keyboard. You can find more of her experiences living with bipolar disorder on her personal blog, My Polar Opposite.

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